SYDNEY, Jan. 28 -- Australia's giant Century zinc mine said production will rebound in 2010 after technical problems cut output in 2009, and economic recovery in China and other key industrialised economies will underpin metals demand.
Zinc in concentrate production will rise to 500,000-510,000 tonnes in 2010 after a 79-day production halt cut output to 360,569 tonnes in 2009, MMG, the Australian unit of China's Minmetals, Century's owners said on Thursday.
"While some correction of metal prices in early 2010 from their year-end highs is likely ... MMG expects increasing demand from China from continuing fiscal stimulus to fuel good metal demand through 2010 and considers that a sustainable recovery has commenced in several key industrialised economies," the company said in a statement.
It added that despite the expected price drop, support for metals prices will be maintained in 2010 by rising real demand, particularly in China.
Production from Century, the world's second largest zinc mine, had returned to full capacity with 30,500 tonnes of zinc concentrate shipped since its restart on Dec 23.
But a severe storm bearing down on Australia's tropical north forced Century to again suspend concentrate production as it takes precautionary measures at its shipping port to safeguard employees, Minmetals said, adding mining operations were unaffected.
The storm is forecast to intensify later on Thursday to cyclone strength, with wind gusts up to 110 kilometres per hour, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.